The fourth meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development adopted 94 conclusions and recommendations as the region’s input to the 2021 HLPF.
The Forum's outcome calls for addressing the obstacles that hindered achievement of the 2020 SDG targets.
ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena closed the Forum remarking that "there is nowhere to return to" and calling to move towards a different future.
The fourth meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development adopted 94 conclusions and recommendations that will provide the region’s input to the 2021 session of the HLPF. The Forum’s outcome calls for addressing the obstacles that hindered achievement of the 2020 SDG targets.
The Forum convened in a virtual format from 15-18 March 2021. In his message to the Forum, the President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Munir Akram, said countries’ recovery from the pandemic-induced crisis should prioritize making COVID-19 vaccines to everyone, rich and poor, as soon as possible. He said a consensus is emerging in ECOSOC and other fora regarding other needed actions, including:
- Expanding the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and extending it until the end of the COVID-19 crisis to provide debt relief;
- Providing additional liquidity, including by creating new Special Drawing Rights, creating a multilateral Fund to Alleviate COVID-19 Economics (FACE) as proposed by Costa Rica, and creating a liquidity and sustainability facility, as proposed by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA);
- Mobilizing larger concessional finance to ensure that the poorest countries do not need to take on new debt;
- Stopping illicit financial flows out of poor countries by implementing the 14 recommendations of the Panel on Financial Accountability Transparency and Integrity (FACTI); and
- Mobilizing USD100 billion annually as climate finance and creating a public-private facility for Sustainable Infrastructure Investment under the UN.
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed echoed the message that COVID-19 vaccines must be “a global public good available to everyone, everywhere,” as a matter of both fairness and self-interest. She also underscored the importance of expanding the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative and the Common Framework for Debt Treatment, and supporting FACE, the debt-for-climate-swap initiative and the Caribbean resilience fund. Mohammed also called for: “making peace with nature” including by aligning COVID-19 recovery measures with action on climate change; ensuring equality for women and men; and leveraging the regional UN development system, which recently undertook a reform process.
In the closing roundtable, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, reflected speakers’ views that “there is nowhere to return to. We have to move towards a different future.” She called for an end to the structural injustice that distinguishes the region and prioritizing employment with rights and universal social protection. Also stressing the need for a social security system, Elliot Harris, UN Chief Economist, called for aligning public policy with the SDGs, job creation, social protection, and collaboration with the private sector.
In a message sent to the Forum, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned that “social discontent” that existed before the pandemic is rising throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and called for building a new social contract to provide more opportunity for all.
In its conclusions and recommendations, the Forum calls on the international community to reinforce measures aimed at addressing specific challenges that hindered achievement of some SDG targets by the year 2020, such as those to protect biodiversity, develop disaster risk reduction strategies, increase the availability of timely, quality and disaggregated data, foster youth participation, and enhance financial resources, capacity-building and technology transfer to developing countries. It also emphasizes that multilateralism is not an option but a necessity to achieve a more equal, more resilient, and more sustainable world.
The Forum welcomed the Regional Knowledge Platform on the 2030 Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean (SDG Gateway). The Platform and related issue-based coalitions and work groups is a joint effort by the 22 UN agencies, funds, and programs in the region to allow countries and UN country teams to obtain specialized knowledge to respond to national needs.
During the Forum ECLAC presented the fourth annual report on regional progress and challenges in relation to the 2030 Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The other regional groups of UN Member States also are holding sustainable development forums in March (Asia-Pacific: 23-26 March; and Arab Region: 29-31 March). Africa’s regional forum on sustainable development took place from 1-4 March, followed by the regional forum for the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) countries from 10-18 March.